5. ahi poke: A refreshing summer snack best featured at Chris’ Ono Grinds, though the ambiance at Common Theory is also worth the trek.
4. quince paste: A magic cheese accompaniment making even the less-scrumptious styles a revived treat.
3. Común: Dishes here are electric with flavor, a notch below the extreme levels of cracked out cuisine as embraced by Puesto. Intensely delicious food without gambling with peoples’ insanity. The downtown J Street line-up is becoming an ever-more tempting crawl.
2. duck: Indulged heavily in a cherished pastime of engulfing all manner of duck. Many personal favorites contributed to collection such as Bahn Thai’s #19 red curry duck and Jayne’s duck confit salad. Meanwhile, sous vide duck breast made its way into my repertoire as the next step in new culinary delights.
1. sous vide: A revival in experimentation has the majority of our meals revolving around what is essentially a fancy modern crockpot.
BONUS: pizza & wine of the month
pizza: Spicy sausage & rapini happy hour pizza from Davanti’s is a reliable Del Mar escape from traffic and other torments of the area
wine: Radikon – “S,” Pinot Grigio, Fruili-Guilia, Italy 2010 ($36) is a vibrant copper-colored Pinot Grigio that falls into small but polarizing category of orange wine, a style drawing deep color expression from the skins of white grapes. Each sip comes with a jolting acidity emphasized by a piercing minerality and tart cherries. It’s as good as it is geeky.